Tory Thomas diary: My first World Cup

Practising repairing a flat tyre in the tech zone.

Practising repairing a flat tyre in the tech zone. (Image credit: Tory Thomas)

Well I've done it. I've started and completed my first ever World Cup mountain bike race. The race was the cross country World Cup #2 in Offenburg, Germany, and WOW it was awesome!

Pre-race relax…

The week leading up to the race was surprisingly relaxing. We stayed at a lovely farm in Durbach, a cute town with buildings that look like gingerbread houses, surrounded by rolling green hills crammed full of grape vines, apple trees and berries. Our hosts, the Laible family, were really generous with their time not to mention their freshly bakes bread, jam and strawberries. They were very chatty and hardly seemed to notice that we couldn't understand German - charades can get you a long way in a foreign country!

Scoping the Course…

We had a sneak preview of the course on Wednesday evening when we stumbled across some bunting on our jetlag recovery spin. Being World Cup first-timers, travelling buddy Jo Wall and I were mighty impressed by the fancy double-bunting on both sides of the track (seasoned competitor Dellys Starr was a little less impressed, although suitably entertained by our awe and wonder!). We slipped our way down a tiny section of flowing singletrack, which was made surprisingly technical by the afternoon's rain. I was more than a little concerned by the way my front tyre was pinging off slippery tree roots, however reassured myself that of course it won't rain again before race day.

The following day we headed out for our first ride of the course. My first impression of the course was WOW. It was seemingly a heap of singletrack weaving through the sort of forest you see in the movies (think Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), spiced up with a few descents, made interesting by the steep gradient and/or tree roots. As we rode around we laughed about how epic the course would be if it rained. I also saw my first ever squirrel which was a very big deal for me!

To read the complete diary entry, click here.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.